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General Assistance Program

The Environmental Specialist, Sally Kniffen, manages the overall environmental program through the EPA GAP grant. Funding is used to provide for Tribal capacity building and to ensure an environmental presence on tribal land. Areas of administration include the following:

Sustainable Development: Program areas focus on implementing a baseline strategy to address three main objectives: (1) pollution prevention, (2) energy efficiency, and (3) effective land use.

Resource protection and management: Projects include: The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe's Emerald Ash Borer Strategic Plan: ash tree seed storage; forestry inventory; outreach and education. Participation in the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration and Great Lakes Water Accord. Recently, we procured funding through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to conduct a baseline study of Huron Bay and participate in the Lake wide Management Plan committee through the Office of Great Lakes. Saginaw Chippewa Tribe is the only tribe represented on the Bay. A small feasibility study was conducted to assess the needs for wild rice restoration. Grant funding is being sought.

Natural Resources Damages and Assessment: Sally is the tribal representative on the Dow/Tittabawassee River dioxin contamination case. Education and outreach to other tribes throughout the country is an important issue for this office. SCIT hosted the first national tribal NRDA conference in 2011.

Climate Change and Energy Efficiency: In 2004 the tribe received funding from the Department of Energy to do a wind energy feasibility study. In 2005 two "Met" towers were installed; one on Shepherd Road in Isabella County and the other on Worth Road in Arenac County. Using a combination of federal AARA funds and tribal funds managed by the Housing Department the tribe purchased a wind turbine. The wind turbine will be a 300 kW peak capacity wind turbine with low wind operating characteristics, sized to approximately displace, on a net annual basis, the 261,507 kWhr/yr. Annual green house gas (GHG) emissions displaced will be 261 tons CO2.

Policy issues and grants management: Sally represents the tribe on the Regional Tribal Operations Committee as one of two Michigan delegates to the EPA. Quarterly meetings with Division Directors ensure the voice of the tribe(s) is heard at a high level within the EPA's American Indian Environmental Office. The tribe's Environmental Team is funded with grant funds; we do not receive a tribal allocation.

  • Sally Kniffen, Environmental Specialist
  • Contact info:
  • Phone: (989) 775-4015
  • Fax: (989) 772-4151
  • Email:

Links of Interest

Great Lakes Regional Collaboration

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI)

Native Village News: Ash Seeds put on Ice for Future Generations Use

Natural Resource Damage Assessment: Tittabawassee River, MI

Michigan Environmental Justice Plan

Tribe Plans Wind Turbine